Reconceptualising engagement : a study of Australian academics

Ferrer, Justine (2010) Reconceptualising engagement : a study of Australian academics. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


The management of human capital is a strategic imperative for knowledge based firms such as universities. Human capital has been described as the investment in people necessary to build the skills and capabilities to operate at their full potential and enable them to act in ways that enhance the competitiveness of organisations. This thesis is set amidst the series of changes made to the Australian Higher Education sector that have had a profound effect on the management of its human capital. The changes have larg ely been driven by government policy in response to globalisation, increased competition and technological advances. As a result the climate of universities has moved to a more cost efficiency-focused managerialism. Various studies have illustrated the significant consequences for the academic workforce and the way in which work has changed in the sector. Academics now face greater accountability for the quality and quantity of their teaching and research at a time when university funding has been constrained. The results have not been all positive for the quality of academics’ working lives and evidence points to heavy workloads and a steadily disengaging workforce. Despite this, many of the sectoral changes rely on an engaged and cooperative workforce to bring about greater productivity and quality of education to attract a larger share of international and domestic students. ... The two aims of this thesis are: to clarify the current definitions of engagement by bringing together the constructs and concepts that contribute to engagement; and to provide insight into the dimensions that shape engagement in Australian business academics ... The thesis also contributes to the dialogue on human capital and in particular, how it can be harnessed in key areas such as the knowledge industries and for targeted purposes such as the management of talent.

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
Subjects Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Management and Information Systems
Historical > FOR Classification > 1301 Education Systems
Historical > FOR Classification > 1503 Business and Management
Keywords engagement, human capital, productivity, Australian, academics, business academics, higher education sector, tertiary institutions
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